Alphabetical Index of First Second

Science Comics: Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield

The most recent Science Comics entry in the First Second line of excellently readable educational graphic novels is Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield by Falynn Koch (who also wrote and drew the Bats volume). It uses the framework of scientists working within a computer simulation to personalize various cells, germs, and processes when the human body gets infected, including Yellow Fever, Bubonic Plague, and a white blood T-Cell. Scientists are trying to enlist harmful germs in attempts to develop new vaccines. […]

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The Stone Heart: The Nameless City Volume 2

The Stone Heart begins with hope of peace and a new era for the many inhabitants of the Nameless City, but new ways of interacting with people not like you threaten the privileged. It only takes one spoiled heir to make things terrible in Faith Erin Hicks’ fantasy adventure. As can be seen from the description, although the setting of this trilogy is inspired by ancient China, there’s plenty relevant to learn while getting caught up in the events. I […]

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Science Comics: Dogs: From Predator to Protector

I knew the latest installment of the Science Comics series, Andy Hirsch‘s Dogs: From Predator to Protector, would be cute. With his art (as also seen in The Baker Street Peculiars) and the subject, how could it not be? What I didn’t expect was just how much science was packed into it, looking at how dogs came to be “man’s best friend” and why they do what they do. A charming mutt named Rudy chases his ball from the dog […]

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Making Scents

Making Scents does something substantial with a silly premise, demonstrating the value of comics. As written by Arthur Yorinks, Mickey was found as a baby by Barney and Barbara Spitz, who raised and trained bloodhounds. So he was raised right along with these “brothers and sisters”, including scent training, making his eventual entry into another culture somewhat difficult. That happens after an accident, with Mickey taken by his aunt and uncle to their home. They’re older, and they never particularly […]

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Shattered Warrior

Shattered Warrior is an affecting portrait of life during wartime occupation, a story of a young woman fighting the alien race who’ve stolen her world that demonstrates real emotional depth in life-and-death situations. Colleen was the privileged daughter of a great estate until the aliens came. They destroyed the city and her home and killed her family (and stole her Bible! just kidding, Romancing the Stone fans). Now, she works a tiring, assembly-line job sorting minerals for the occupiers to […]

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Science Comics: Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared

First Second’s Science Comics line combines the best of everything: fascinating stories, entertaining education, and talented creators who know how to make good comics. Flying Machines: How the Wright Brothers Soared is no exception. (Previous titles include Bats, Volcanoes, Dinosaurs, and my personal favorite, Coral Reefs.) Alison Wilgus wrote and Molly Brooks illustrated this brief history of powered flight by heavier-than-air constructions. I was charmed from the beginning, with the choice to have the story narrated by Katharine Wright, sister […]

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Tetris: The Games People Play

It’s astounding what fascinating graphic novels can be made from the most unexpected subjects! Box Brown (Andre The Giant: Life and Legend) demonstrates that with Tetris: The Games People Play, which starts out as a history of the immensely popular, deceptively simple video game. As it continues, though, we see ruminations on the nature and history of art and sport. Games develop analytical skills and pleasure people’s brains with fun. Tetris was created in 1984 by a Russian programmer with […]

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The Amazing Crafty Cat

My preconceptions of The Amazing Crafty Cat led me down the wrong path. I thought I’d get a craft-focused story of an animal who made things. Instead, this is a lightweight tale of a girl struggling to recover from a bad birthday at school. There are a few crafts included, with templates in back, but most are just gluing bits of paper together. I expected more, and more imaginative, things to make. The simplicity of Charise Mericle Harper’s book is […]

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